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glaciers in the Tien Shan mountains


Anthropogenic climate warming is believed to significantly change landscapes in mountainous areas in the coming decades. As such, since the Little Ice Age, the total ice mass in western Tien Shan mountains in Kyrgyzstan has already decreased significantly as a result of global warming.

In this regard, this project aims at a better understanding of the amount, sensitivity, and evolution of glacier ice in this region. Fieldwork (ice thickness measurements and drone surveys) on several benchmark glaciers (Bordu, Golubina, Kara-Batkak, and Ashuu-Tor) is performed to better understand and predict the actual and future state of glacier ice in the area. The project will provide a better understanding of the present and future glacier state, and is anticipated to be of large importance for the hydrology, natural hazard assessment, and water management of the area.

The next step will be to model the past and future glacier evolution of the individual glaciers with a 3D model, including a mass balance model. Eventually, the goal will be to model past and future evolution of all glaciers in the western Tien Shan with GloGEMflow and asssess future water supply in the arid region.